Tag Archives: lovecraft

The Darkest of the Hillside Thickets – The Dukes of Alhazred

Label: self released
Origin: Canada
Band: The Darkest of the Hillside Thickets

Not every band that deals with books or games is automatically a gimmick. When done well, an act can truly be an addition to the original experience. So it is with a lot of the Lovecraft tributes and The Darkest of the Hillside Thickets is one of the coolest I’ve come across this far.

The band from Vancouver in British Columbia has been around for an astonishing 25 years, setting the tales of the horror master to catchy rock tunes. The group is well deep in their matter and sadly I missed them in my quest for Lovecraft inspired acts as a soundtrack to reading the books. The sound of the group is catchy, up-tempo rock music, with a penchant for the over the top antics. I really enjoyed this album, be warned. Oh, here’s those Lovecraft bits.

Opener ‘You Fool! Warren is Dead’ is a reference to the short story ‘The Statement of Randolph Carter’. It’s a supercatchy, clap-along, hitting that high-hats driven tune. You can’t sit still to that track, while the story is really one that freezes you in your bed/seat/wherever you read that haunting last line. There’s something nineties rock vibe to tunes like ‘Ararchnotopia’. Early Foo Fighters cute rock tunes almost.

Smooth, sunny tunes I can hear on ‘Coelacanthem’ that remind you of the waving palm trees and coconuts. Calm drums and the thick surf guitars complete the picture. It shows something of the variety the band manages to offer. On ‘The Great Molasses Disaster’ we get some shredding guitar again. I really dig the vocals of this band, they’re particularly versatile. The group itself is just really a talented bunch of musicians, creating catchy tunes. No two songs are the same and you’ll easily stick with them for the whole album.

There’s more though, on the track ‘Erich Zahn’ we have a little gipsy orchestra playing. If you like some catchy rock with your cosmic horror, The Darkest of the Hillside Thickets are your guys!

Stranger Aeons: An overdue introduction

When I started my own blog, I was over the moon with a broad scope of topics and I named it ‘Wheaton’s Law’. It was a geeky thing, but if you really look at any blog, it’s probably run by a geek of sorts. When I launched that blog, I decided to inform the world of what, why and how. Time to do that for the rebranded Stranger Aeons.

Origin of the name

Like any name, you want it to be original, to be yours. I’ve recently got a tattoo above my knee saying: “with strange aeons even death may die”. Now, this is an obvious Lovecraft reference. I love that phrase, I really do. So that was my first real idea after many, many failed ideas. I mean, I am the guy who came up with a tumblr blog titled ‘Fascism and Fascination’, so I have a history of bad names. Oh yeah, first blog ever was titled Psychosis Safari… Ah well.

So yes, obviously when one finds a unique name, registers it and all, you find out about things. Like an Entombed EP and a Lithuanian band named Stranger Aeons. You can’t win ’em all.

So why Stranger Aeons?

I picked the name because it resonates with the things that fascinate me in life. I’m an avid reader about past or fictional aeons and I feel that we live in a rather strange one as well. There’s a lot of mystery in the world and this is what fascinates me. It allows me to explore places, drinks, books and music and share it under the same banner. Surely, my focus is on music, but even in that I hope to offer the strange and mysterious.

So my focus is on extreme metal, folk and records that are just too unnatural, weird or haunting. I try to get some interviews in with bands that fascinate me and maybe more if my time becomes more liberal.

I think you should write about my band, we’re sort of strange

I would love to, so just contact me and I’ll check it out. Since this is still a one man endeavour, I can hardly cover everything. If I don’t sorry, but I always try to when I’m asked.

Just to be clear, I’m interested in anything that pushes the envelope, anything that is rediscovering our ancient past and roots. Things that explore and evoke thoughts. Be sure to contact me, I don’t bite.

Jupiterian: Cosmic crushing doom from Brazil

Though we may know Brazil as a country well known for its amazing death metal and passionate fans, there’s more to it than that obviously. Jupiterian is a whole different monster that landed with their debut EP ‘Archaic’, which was followed by their album ‘Apothic’.

The sound of Jupiterian is black as the depths of the cosmos and solid like a thick slab of meteorite hitting you in the face. Devoid of any frivolities, it’s a heavy listen, but well worth your time. So time to get to know them a bit better, before they head to Europe for some shows, where I hope to see them again.

I first met V. from Jupiterian at Roadburn and soon I got to know his newly founded band Jupiterian. An avid music fan and lover of science and sci-fi, V. is a creative force with plenty of inspiration from music and literature. Their sound is to me rather unique and unforgivingly heavy, so let’s hope they can head back to play Roadburn soon, because this band belongs on that bill. Time to get into it.

How did Jupiterian get started and what brought you guys together as a band? Did you have any previous projects that you would like to mention?

We started in 2013 while I was still playing with my previous death metal band The Black Coffins. I started to work on some riffs with a borrowed guitar I had at home, so I asked some friends if they would be interested to join me in this new project. When the band suddenly split up that year, I decided to focus 100% in this new project which would become Jupiterian. By that time, the band was called Codex Ivpiter, we were 5 guys, I was just doing the lead guitar and we had a lead vocalist, but I felt it would be easier to work only as a four piece, because I was working on the songs, themes and at the same time creating the vocal lines. After this line-up change, we also changed the name to Jupiterian and we entered the studio to record our first material, a 3 songs EP called ‘Archaic’. That was pretty much it.

Can you start by explaining the name and the concept of the band?

I have always been fascinated by mythology, especially the Greek-Roman mythology. I also love astronomy and as an amateur, I try to study and read about it as much as I can. But I am also into sci-fI books, authors likes Arthur C. Clark, Frank Herbert, Asimov, William Gibson blew my mind as a kid as much as Lovecraft and Robert E. Howard did with their cosmic horror novels. When I started the band, the first thing I had in mind was to create more than only the music, but an entire journey through all of that.

Jupiter is part of ancient mythology in the form from many gods for many extinct cultures and it could sum up all the references I had in mind. So the name Codex Ivpiter came up, but as you presume, it was terrible to speak and explain how to spell it. Jupiterian was a name that I was already about thinking for a while. When I talked to the other guys, it made much more sense and we thought it would fit perfectly for our purpose.

jupi2

What are the musical inspirations for you guys, both for the band as well as for yourself?

We have a very different background in the band when it comes to influences. I try to keep my mind opened to everything concerning music. New bands, old bands. I still feel excited when I listen to something new that blows my mind, be it metal or not and it inspires me a lot to try to reinvent the way I play or the way I want to create new stuff. As a band I could name a few like Jacula, Fabio Frizzi, Arvo Part, Anathema (their firsts albums), Graves at Sea, Asunder, Worship, Winter, Deathspell Omega, Iron Maiden, Whitehorse, Teeth of Lions Rule the Divine, Blut Aus Nord, Mercyful Fate & King Diamond, Funeral Mist, Goblin, Antaeus, Cathedral, Celtic Frost and, Svartidaudi, Thergothon and so on…

You’ve just released some new music. Can you tell a bit about the recording and writing process? Who does what and how does it unfold?

Yes! We recently release our Anathema’s “Mine is Yours To Drown In” cover. Well, more like a version. We started to work on that and I didn’t want to just emulate the original version, so we tried to put some of our DNA on that. And I am really proud the way it came out.

Where do you guys get your inspiration from further, because it seems that the inspiration is a dense mixture of the fantastic, absurd, horror and science fiction. Do you derive your concepts from books or films?

That’s for sure! As I told you, I read a lot sci-fI and horror books. Also I am really into those movies, and my love for the genre is very specific. I am really into all Ray Harryhausen’s animated monsters, and also am obsessed with David Cronenberg’s work, John Carpenter, the Hammer Films movies, Amicus.. you know, the victorian-era horror movies, also mixed with some steampunk style like “First men in the moon”, “The Time Machine” and everything I can find from the gold age of sci-fI movies.

jupi3

When listening to your albums, the sound is so overwhelmingly heavy and devoid of most other elements. The returning themes makes me feel like that’s a very deliberate choice, also related to the subject matter. Is that so?

That’s true. This is the core of the band, we want to deliver all the heaviness with a dark, yet melodic atmosphere within it.

I would like to know a bit about your visual expressions. Rarely does a band pay so much attention to artwork, logo’s and thus creating such a complete picture. Can you tell a bit more about that?

Thanks a lot. I am glad it called your attention. Well, we are telling a story with the band I want it all to make sense to the listener, be it with the music, the videos, t-shirt and everything. For me, music is much more than what you are listening in a moment, It’s a journey.

Most of the time I am the one behind the imagery, but we are very lucky to work with great artists that get our idea and deliver a great work for us.

You’ve done some covers for the new release. Why did you pick those songs exactly?

Yeah, ‘Mine is Yours to Drown’ In was the first one and the other one is Black Sabbath‘s Behind The Wall of Sleep’. About the Anathema version, when we started the band, we talked about choosing a song to cover and this one was my first idea. It was one of the firsts extreme metal songs I ever heard when I was a kid, so recording it felt like retribution cause it means a lot to me. About “Behind the Wall of Sleep”, Cvlt Nation invited us to their new Cvlt Nation Session, and the chosen album this time was Black Sabbath’s “Black Sabbath”. We chose that song for two basics reasons: 1. It’s Lovecraft; 2. It would be very challenging to record a song so different from what we do cause it’s a faster song. As we did with “Mine is Yours”, we re-think the entire song and made it slower and with our approach and way to do things. Both will be available on digital format in our bandcamp in October. They are part of this 2 songs EP called “Urn”.

Like before you’re working with Mories (Gnaw Their Tongues) on this new release. How did you get in touch and get to work with him? What do you think that the impact on your sound is of his contributions? 

The first time I talked to Mories was in 2010 when I interviewed him for a metal website I used to keep here in Brazil. But I met him personally for the first time at Roadburn 2013 and then we became friends. The sound of his bands is outstanding, he is always releasing amazing albums, always working on something new and all I can say is that I am lucky enough to work with someone I admire and respect that much. I think Jupiterian sound so much darker, dense and intense because of his final touch in the process. Sometimes he also creates some extra textures and it’s by his will. Yeah man, he is definitively a big part in this band.

If you could do the soundtrack of either a Lovecraft film or a sci-fI horror combi, which would have your preference and why?

Good one! I never thought about it but when I read the question, the first movie that came to my mind was Deep Star Six. I think the movie has an overwhelming claustrophobic atmosphere. Maybe Andrzej Żuławski’s “On a Silver Globe” (wich is a movie we already used for the “Archaic” video) or Tarkovisky’s “Stalker”. I’d love to do the soundtrack for a lovecraftian movie if there was any good for his “dream cycle”, specially “The Dream-Cast of Unknown Kadath”.

What can people expect from a Jupiterian live show? What kind of experience are they in for?

We like to think our shows are like painful processions, an experience that hurts the soul cause it’s about heaviness but it’s also about sadness and darkness. It’s the worship of what doom metal means to us.

Brazil is known as a firm and established metal nation, maybe even one of the biggest in the world if you may believe the documentary ‘World Metal’ by Sam Dunn. Can you spare a few words on how the Brazilian scene looks and how doom metal fits in there?

I think there is a romantic vision about the Brazilian scene because of all the amazing bands that came out from here in the past decades like Sepultura, Sarcofago, Mystifier, Krisiun, Violator, Facada, Rebaelliun and so on, but I don’t think we can say its firm and established. There’s a lot of passionate people doing their stuff but in a very amateur way, you know. Brazil is a continental country and yet, we cannot arrange a proper tour here at least you are a real DIY band. Of course you won’t make real money and you probably will play with shitty amps on shitty venues. We have only a very few pro labels actively working nowadays, but we are still surviving because everyone involved in this, be it thrash, death, grind and so on, we are used to that. That’s how things are and still love it

We know Brazil from its death metal scene of a while ago. Which bands from Brazil are on the rise and should get our attention (and why)?

Facada is one of my favourite grindcore bands of all times. They are relentlessly brutal, it’s like a mix of the best things Napalm Death, Brutal Truth and Nasum ever released in one band, and of course with a strong (and relevant) politic approach on the lyrics. I recommend their last album Nadir. My favourite track is “Amanhã vai ser pior”.

Thy Light is amazing. They are one of the most relevant bands in the DSBM scene world wide and Paolo is a great guy. He also plays in a Death Metal band called Desdominus, which is also a fantastic band. “No Morrow Shall Dawn”, their last album, is perfect for cold and grey days.

Abske Fides is a great Funeral Doom metal band from São Paulo and reunite some of my oldest friends in the scene. N., the bass player, joined us for the Chilean tour we did this year. He also plays in Noala and Au Sacre Des Nuits and is always delivering amazing music, be with his bands or with his solo projects. We’ve been working together for many, many years now in a lot of projects and you can hear a jam we did on the track “Daylight”, in the end of the song.

Mythological Cold Towers is legendary. They are active for more than 20 years now producing great albums and putting amazing shows. Their last album, “Monvmentvm Antiqua”, is fantastic!

Infamous Glory is an old school death metal band featuring K. from Abske Fides. “Bloodfeast” is a death metal worship with all the elements we love in the genre.

Rakta is a brilliant – way beyond any label – band from São Paulo. I love what these girls do and to see them live is an incredible experience. One of the best active bands in Brazil nowadays.

Deaf Kids just released their last album called “Configuração do Lamento” and it’s one of the best 2016 albums so far in my opinion. This power trio deliver an hypnotizing punk with a lot of tribal-driven rythms. A trully unique band.

What future plans does Jupiterian have?

We have 4 shows in Europe in late October, it’s a mini tour with our brothers from Mythological Cold Towers. We’ll play 2 gigs in Belgium, one in Czech Republic and the last show will be at Dutch Doom Days in Rotterdam, NL. After that we will focus on finishing the lasts songs for our next full length and record it in the beginning of 2017. We have 3 new songs, one of them are on our setlist, and 2 structures not finished yet, so i’d say the next album is 70% done.

If you had to describe Jupiterian as a dish (food), what would it be and why?

Maybe it’s a Brazilian feijoada, cause it’s black, dense, fat, it’s hard and slow to digest. Actually it looks like a disgusting swamp haha

 

Your ultimate Lovecraft soundtrack part 3

After going into some random interesting music and then focusing on the heavy, doomy stuff, in this third part I want to just bring out the Lovecraft inspired music that I missed on the first search for music. This focuses on what I’d like to call honorable mentions, artists that put themselves out of the box with haunting, harrowing tributes to Lovecraft.

Enjoy the madness.

Honorable mentions

Working on this bit, I came across some brilliant works of music, which I will gladly share with you here.

Old Witch is a bit of a mysterious black metal band from Canada, but on this reading of Lovecraftian magic, they offer the B-side of their ‘Come Mourning Come’ record for The Picture In The House, read by Glenn Hallstrom. The band offers the sonic ambiance to the reading. Great material therefor.

Nothing like a bit of dark ambient, on this homage to the mad God swirling in chaos ‘Azathoth’ by Cryo Chamber Collaboration. That is too little words to pay truely respect to the effort this 2 hour piece must have taken to make. A stunning number of 20 artists worked on this project, to create this ultimate bit of music.

Because that effort was not enough to prove the brilliance of the Cryo Chamber Collaboration, they did one more titled ‘Nyarlathotep’ and ofcourse earlier the masterful ‘Cthulu’. Well done sirs, well done! This is for the long winter nights, I’d say, to immerse yourself for hours in darker realms.

Ultar is a Siberian post black metal band. A tortured, dreary sounding track, that well describes the daunting journey to find that city of Unknown Kadath past the planes of Leng and you know what I’m talking about, don’t you? This is truly one of the best things I’ve heard.

Ok, maybe Shoikan Grove isn’t your run of the mill Lovecraftian project, but it definitely should be mentioned. A project over mail by two friends, inspired by D&D, Magic and Lovecraft and a joy to listen to. Not the best quality, but the enthusiasm is enough to keep me listening.

Nuclear Cthulu from St. Petersburg in Russia is definitely a different case, taking the great old one to a more industrial sphere on their album ‘Desecration’. Black metal combined with doom and industrial and a lot of unholy chanting. Feel the cold!

It sounds like a forlorn videotape with a peculiar soundrack to a creepy horror film and that is what Black Mountain Transmitter is best at on this tribute to the Goat with the Thousand Young. Ambient soundscapes and eerie effects, to get you through the day and haunted nights.

In his own image The Gateless Gate/Khan Tengri has made a record that celebrates ‘At The Mountains Of Madness’ in a peculiar psychedelic and ambient rocking way. I like it, perhaps you do too, but I do miss the threatening vibe. I still enjoyed listening to his interpretation and drift of on the cosmic vibes.

This is again just a small selection of stuff that is out there. I hope you enjoy checking some of this material out and reading some more books by the Great Old One H.P. Lovecraft himself.

 

Your ultimate Lovecraft soundtrack part 2

Continuing on the topic of audio expressions of Lovecraftian lore, love and random fandom, I would like to take you down to a more serious form of expression, that is more Roadburny in nature.

The Doom that came over Lovecraft

To me, ever since Thergothron, doom is the ultimate music for reading Lovecraft. There’s been some great stuff on that, so I’m now venturing into personal recommendations. It’s something about that heavy pummeling, the anticipation and the cosmic stand still. In Lovecraft’s work, humans are the most puny, insignificant things. The slow pace of doom feels remniscent of that, so that’s the core of what I was looking for and I found kindred sounds.

A bit different for starters than, Nikoletta from Arizona makes Stars Eat Worlds, which she dubs surfer metal. Though this is just a demo, it shows a lot of promise. If the surf can take over a bit, it might become something grand to listen to. The songs now sometimes end up just being barrages of noise, lacking the atmospheric.

Now, I know I’m pushing this even further, but Mr. Zoth and the Werespiders produce a drone like music, infected with dungeon synth and ambient elements, to create a harrowing, nerve wracking sound effect, great for your Lovecraftian moments. More cool, these guys are designing games too.

If you can get into it, some really good, blistering noise could be working in your favor. Xothun does a great job in creating eerie soundscapes of crackling distortion and screams. Might be too much again, but I must say I dig it.

Again more ambient/drone, but with a name like Erich Zann Chamber Orchestra we can hardly ignore this Polish contribution to the sonic pantheon of Lovecraftian idolatry, right?

Time to get serious, with no other than Obed Marsh. This Perth, Australia originated group of doomsters makes the sounds of uncanny sludge and  heavy proportions. This is the soundtrack to which the nameless ones rise from the deep and sing their unholy songs to ancient Cthulhu. This is indeed exactly what I ment, talking about doom.

I got to see Arkham Witch play live in Malta, where they did songs from their old band The Lamp Of Thoth. The old school heavy metal mixed with doom is catchy and just in a very simple way cool. I think they’re a nice listen during the enjoyment of a good New England story.

My personal favorite and I think one of the most awesome bands out there is The Great Old Ones. Already having an awesome bandname, their sound is monolythic, grand and full of the looming danger that is represented by the great old gods. This is the right atmospheric tune for your moment of immersing into the cosmic horror of H.P. Lovecraft.

A bit more theatrical, but also dirty and grimey is the Dutch collective Swampcult, who pay homage to the master of the cosmic horror with their recent album. The album is a version of the Lovecraft story ‘The Festival’, in its entirety and it’s  one gloomy immersion that you’re facing here.

Enjoy these bands, they’re really cool but also channeling their very own experiences and feelings with the stories of Lovecraft into music. That in itself is a great thing. Listening to these bands might allow you to explore new flavors and colour to the timeless works of Lovecraft.

Your ultimate Lovecraft soundtrack part 1

I’ve noticed the curious fact that so many bands have recently gone in the direction of Lovecraftian themes in their music, it’s astonishing. Some of them are brilliant.

Entering the Mythos

I stumbled upon a library book when I was around 16 years of age, featuring assorted Lovecraft stories. Though the book was more aimed at New England stories (the witchcraft stories of Lovecraft), it was an immediate succes for my reading pleasures. For years it felt like a nice underground thing, that only the initiated of my friends knew about. It’s the kind of work that makes you feel like you know something others dont.

The mythos isn’t for everyone, there’s a style of writing inate to the work of Lovecraft that is dense, old and sometimes a bit too stale, but it all helps in the proces of scaring you. Not everyone can get that far, which always prompts me to recommend short stories. Lovecraft could astonish you in a  100 pages of ‘At The Mountains of Madness’, but evenly so in a 3 page short story.

Academic interest

The Lovecraft mythos and its impact has even become a topic of some academic/essayist interest with the writings of even a Michel Houellebecq adresses the topic of Lovecraft. The early 20th century pulp writer has become an underground culture phenomenon. Specially in the later decades of past century, Cthulhu is rising.

Not only are there tons of cartoons, re-issues and weird fan art, Cthulhu and other Lovecraftian creations have been part of music (mostly heavy or underground) for a while. Gary Hill documented this in his book ‘The Strange Sound of Cthulhu: Music Inspired by the Writings of H.P. Lovecraft’.  It mentions an astonishing amount of bands from all sorts of places, but I feel quite often from the southern part of the USA. I guess the foggy swamps bring about something supernatural.

Musical Reading Support

Though many bands featured mention the fact that they veel their music should stand on its own, I find personally that having a good slab of music to listen to while reading the works of Lovecraft is an entirely cool thing to have. The comical Lovecraft tunes and punkrock probably doesn’t fit very well as material that supports you while reading. Instead you would go for something more atmospheric, heavy and oppressing, leaving classical/postrock/ambient and metal. I prefer metal.

Recently there’s been a boom in Cthulhu stuff, which ranges from audiobooks on bandcamp to strange experimental rock similar to the soundtracky stuff by X-ray Dog. An example of that are these guys:

Triskaidekaphobia would be right up your sleeve if you are interested in more electronic, trance-like material. A bit of goth flavoring and a ton of electronic assistance create something akin to a game soundtrack.

Similarly, the work by guitarist Brett Miller takes on that sound, but more metal oriented and maybe akin to the famous Red Alert videogame soundtrack. Strong riffing, but little other effects. Quite up front, which  is not for every reader, and highly captivating.

More out to get some prog in your ears? The recording done by Back to R’lyeh is a worthy endeavour with soaring, big sounding adventure-music. There’s a bit of heavy vocals mixed in their, but overall they sound a bit like modern day Opeth. Good stuff by this Spanish group, but to me a bit too all over the place.

More sticking witht he ambiance of a radio show? Reber Clark supplies the music to the H. P. Lovecraft Historical Society’s Dark Adventure Radio Theatre and more, so he’s well versed in this. You can find a lot of his work online. 

A bit weirder…

A bit more odd, but I’m not judging, is the lo-fi surf inspired noise rock by Zpider on this endeavour. Granted, for me the weirdnes of it would be a bit too distracting, but the Burzumesque drones and spiralling sounds may just be what you need to get in that Lovecraftian groove.

So the Suction Cups took that and made it even more weird and silly, with a carnivalesque organ jam that sounds way to much like a party to me, but damn,… it’s captivating.

Thomasz Bylina is a metal musician, but on the side he started doing something he likes to call illustrative music. That is great, because that is exactly what you’d be looking for. The record, titled firstly ‘Teomachia’ is in fact ment as a soundtrack of a game Thomasz is part of developing. How awesome is that!?

Or you just don’t give a tick, give Cthulhu boobs and a vagina  that looks like the mouth of  Gene Simmons , like Blinding Eye Dog. I don’t know what more to say about this. Lovecraft probably didn’t envision this, but then again Lovecraft was a bit of an old fashioned guy… The music is good in my opinion.

Mind, this is just a pick of recent materials that have been released. It’s not an all encompassing list, but just what I came across.

The thing is, the inspiration that Lovecraft’s work has given to musicians is one of a kind. Even the weirdos from Blinding Eye Dog have clearly read the works and decided to do a strange spin on that. Sure, it’s very different, but the impact is shown. Yeah sure, it’s not thet profound expression of appreciation, but it shows the impact of Lovecraft’s work.

The Reading of Books #5

A new series of books I’ve been reading. H.P Lovecraft, St. Augustine, Richard A. Knaak and E.M. Cioran. Horror, pessimism, religion and World of Warcraft in one blogpost!

H.P. Lovecraft – The Haunter in the Dark (Collected Stories – Volume Three)

Source: Wordsworth-editions.co.uk

Once you get captivated by the writings of H.P. Lovecraft, you probably will be hooked for life. I’ve been reading them since I was sixteen and last year I purchased this collection, which features some stories I had not read yet and some I was willing to re-read. The collection has some of the rich and haunting New-England stories, with vague references to witchcraft and deeper mysteries, which all find themselves rounding up in the dream stories of ‘The Dream Quest of Unknown Kadath’.

The cosmic proportions of these stories are magnificent and wonderful for those readers open to it. Ofcourse, it is in the end fantastic fiction, but the creative process behind the work of Lovecraft and the creations he wrought. Wordworth has tried to connect the stories in these collections, making it easier for the reader to make sense of them and relate the texts to eachother. One could argue that the intertextual carreer of characters like Randolph Carter should be discovered instead of presented by the publisher. Thanks to digital collections, the real explorer of Lovecraft can still find his or her own way. No matter how well put together, it takes away a bit for those who want to drift through the pages.

E.M.  Cioran – A Short History of Decay

Source: Amazon

Apparently the mother of Romanian philosopher Emile Cioran told him, that if she had known he’d be so unhappy, she would have gotten an abortion. If there’s anyway to introduce his work, that fact does it. The philosophy of pessimism is not the most cheery material to read, and this collection of short essays (ranging from half a page to two/three pages) is definitely not a page turner. The short, condensed passages contain nuggets of wisdom and insight on the futility of life, suicide, sin and nihilism.

Cioran used themes like that life is arbitrary, or the idea that live is inconvenient. Born in Romania, while it was occupied by Austria-Hungary, he searched for meaning pretty much most of his life, embracing nationalism as well as nihilism. His short writings are powerful and also inspiring in strange ways. Pessimists may seem drole and, well …, generally pessimistic, there is also a lot of wit and black humor in it. Cioran must have embraced his pessimism when he wrote this work, since it’s filled with witty remarks of one who has no hope.

Richard A. Knaak – Stormrage

Source: Wowwiki.com

Blizzard is an amazing company when it comes to making video games. The strenght of their flagship game World of Warcraft is not its revolutionairy visuals (not anymore atleast) but its emphasis on strong narrative and continuation. The player is part of a history that develops and fully grows on many levels. The company also invests in that in other media than the digital, releasing books to fill in certain elements of the storylines. Stormrage is one of those, filling the bap between the narratives of ‘Wrath of the Lich King’ and ‘Cataclysm’ (two expansions to the game).

The story is that of night elf Arch Druid Malfurion Stormrage and the people around him. Stormrage had been missing, ever since the start of the World of Warcraft narrative lines and cataclysm finally brought him back into action. In Cataclysm the core world was reshaped and the events in this book lead up to those and explain the sudden ravaged world players enter in that version of the game (which relaunched the whole core world). The story is a bit stretched in some parts and not always as easy to follow. Still Richard A. Knaak always manages to capture the spirit of WoW very well and gives a whole lot of new, exciting questions in this work. It also connects with the ‘War of the Ancients’ story arch.

St. Augustine – Confessions of a sinner 

Source: Amazon

I was rather exciteds about reading St. Augustine, but I was let down quite a bit to be honest. This book is only part of a greater body of work, where Augustine is confessing his sins and describing his life to his deity. The work is a confession of his sinful life, before he became the later St. Augustine. The pages are filled with a dialogue he tries to have with God.

Though this book from the Penguin ideas series is full of touching and beautiful writings, I did not enjoy it too much. The devout way of writing of St. Augustine offered little of the wisdom he is revered for. This does show the man behind the wisdom though, his fallacies and insecurities. It makes him human and that is why this is worth reading.